The last two weeks, we covered saltwater fishing regulations involving size and creel limits for North Carolina anglers. But have you ever caught a really nice fish and say, “Wow that’s a nice sea mullet,” or fill in the blank for your favorite species?
Of course, you have.
Well, like many states, the N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries has a Citation/Tournament Program so you can celebrate and remember your special fish with a document signed by our governor and director of Marine Fisheries suitable for framing. This is called NORTH CAROLINA SALTWATER FISHING TOURNAMENT (http://portal.ncdenr.org/web/mf/recreational-fishing-tournaments) and has been around for many years. Some years ago (effective 1-1-2008), major changes were made to requirements for species citations, making them more fish friendly, particularly creating and expanding the release categories.
According to the NCDMF, to qualify, the following is required:
* All fish must be caught on hook and line and landed or brought to gaff or net by the angler.
* No electric or hydraulic equipment is allowed.
* Fish must be weighed by an authorized weighmaster (or his/her representative) at an official weigh station (there are many throughout the state).
* Each fish must be recorded on an official application form (you get the pink copy), signed by the angler and a weighmaster.
* Snagged, mutilated, scaled, speared, frozen or shot fish are not eligible. And oh, by the way, the weighmaster reserves the right to cut, open or mark the fish after it has been weighed to ensure legitimacy of the catch.
Of course, with the release categories, there are protocols as well. They are:
* The angler or mate must touch the fish or the leader.
* The application must be completed with exception of length and weight (false albacore, amberjack, Atlantic bonito, barracuda, cobia, black drum, jack crevalle, king mackerel, shark, striped bass, gray trout, speckled trout and red drum must have the length recorded.)
* For validity, a witness to your catch must also sign the application.
Next week, I will cover the citation criteria for some of our favorite of the 38 species included for the citation program.
By the way, Dr. Bogus has only two citations gracing the walls of the International Corporate Headquarters of Dr. Bogus.com here in Emerald Isle. They are for my couple special flounder. I love catching doormats, but I never submitted citations for speckled trout, bluefish, striped bass (caught on a trip with Capt. Dean Lamont off Drum Inlet just before Christmas), and of course, for a citation old red drum caught on a memorable Neuse River excursion with Capt. Bryan Goodwin some years ago.
I do, however, have the photos to prove it online at https://www.ncoif.com/big-red/!
This past week was filled with Eta-2020 remnants – wind, rain, dirty water, river flooding, water temperatures 10 degrees above normal and small-craft advisories.
As you all know, I have collected water temperatures going back to…yes 1995! Late last week, I measured both surf and sound at 72 degrees, decidedly not normal.
By mid-November, we should be in the low 60s, not low 70s. October temperatures normally show an 8-degree drop from the beginning of the month to end of October and November, not far behind in the monthly drop.
But we started October at 75 degrees, and as of late last week, we were stuck on 72 degrees, not nearly the 14 to 15 degrees falloff we normally see. No wonder the fish are confused!
Personally, I had a decent weekend with speckled trout but also confirmed the No. 1 Murphy’s Law of fishing…if you catch a fish on your first cast…go home. It will be the only fish you will catch that day.
Such was Saturday.
On Sunday, I broke the curse and did not catch a fish on my first cast but limited out fishing one of the local creeks. However, the Sunday fish were binary. I didn’t know that fish could count in zeros and ones! All the fish I caught that day were either 12-inch throwbacks or 18-inch keepers. Go figure.
The successful bait? Betts Halo Shrimp fished “winter slow,” which got slammed and pretty chewed up in the process.
Now for a record BIG fish, which is both a state and world record approved by the IGFA.
The fish, a Gulf kingfish was caught by Vickie Hammonds of Wilmington back on Feb. 4 and weighed in at an outstanding 3 pounds, 13 ounces. The Gulf kingfish measured 21 inches total length and had a fat, 11-inch girth.
She caught the fish at Kure Beach using fresh shrimp as bait. Congrats Vickie.
Now for the piers:
Oceanana Pier reports a good week with croaker, sheepshead, trout, pompano and blues.
Bogue Inlet Pier was met by rough and dirty surf that cleared on Sunday and has produced big sea mullet, slot black drum (at least one over slot), a few blowfish, some gray trout on and off (mostly off) and spots.
Seaview Pier reports spots, sea mullet, croaker, gray trout and pompano.
Surf City Pier reports BIG sea mullet.
Jolly Roger Pier reports sea mullet, spots and slot red and black drum.
With the weather settling down and water temperatures dropping, I’m looking for a good report next week.
Hopefully the albies and blues will stay hot, and depending on water temps, maybe Spanish and kings near the beach, as well as specks and drum running the beaches of Bogue Banks.
I did hear the surf flounder bite is holding up, but alas, the season is closed. On the other hand, rumors are flying around on anything from a one-flounder to zero-flounder limit for the 2021 season. Zero or one, another binary situation?
2) "Ask Dr. Bogus" is on the radio every Monday at 7:30 a.m. WTKF 107.1 FM and 1240 AM. The show is also replayed on Sunday morning at 6 a.m. Callers may reach me at 800-818-2255.
3) I’m located at 118 Conch Ct. in Sea Dunes, just off Coast Guard Road, Emerald Isle, NC 28594. The mailing address is P.O. Box 5225, Emerald Isle, NC 28594. Don’t forget a gift certificate for your favorite angler for fishing lessons or my totally Bogus Fishing Report subscription. Please stop by at any time and say “Hi” or call 252-354-4905.